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Taha Kass-Hout, M.D., MS / Courtesy of the FDA and Wikimedia Commons

Amazon Snatches Former FDA Big Data Chief

Walter Eisner • Wed, March 21st, 2018

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The disintermediators of Silicon Valley continue their incursion into health care. Get ready to learn two new names, Taha and Babak.

On Friday March 16, 2018, CNBC reported that Amazon hired Taha Kass-Hout, M.D., MS, in the company's "secret” health care division, named “1492.” That's the year the New World was disrupted.

FDA Big Data Chief

This caught our attention because between 2013 to 2016, Kass-Hout was the FDA's chief informatics officer and led the agency's openFDA and precisionFDA big data initiatives. Before that he held the same job with the CDC.

OpenFDA is a big data cloud platform that provides open-source Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) that has allowed software developers, researchers, FDA scientists, and the public to tap into adverse events, recalls, and labeling for medical products on the market.

PrecisionFDA is the informatics cloud-based platform for ensuring the accuracy of Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) tests by crowdsourcing reference material and data was part of the Obama Administration’s Precision Medicine Initiative.

His LinkedIn profile reportedly describes him as a "physician executive empowering consumers via sustainable health data ecosystems," and the last job in his list is SVP/Chief Digital Health and Intelligence Officer at Michigan's Trinity Health.

Kass-Hout will apparently work under former Google X director Babak Parviz in a business development role. While his role was not spelled out, the CNBC report speculated that Kass-Hout could help Amazon build a product that gives consumers easier access to their medical records and help with regulatory issues as the company pushes into new health care areas.

Amazon Health Care

Amazon has been racing into the consumer and health care world. Last August 24, 2017, the company announced it was buying Whole Foods. On January 30, 2018, the company announced a partnership with JP Morgan and Warren Buffet to begin supplying health care services to one million employees.

Then, February 13, 2018, The Wall Street Journal reported that Amazon is attempting to become a major hospital supplier.

And now they've added Kass-Hout. He holds a Doctor of Medicine and a Master of Science (Biostatistics) from the University of Texas.

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